Edgeryders is crowdfunding a MOOC on how to do remote work and distributed collaboration well. Here is how you can help!

3 weeks to get a MOOC online? With your help we can do it!

We are building the course based on our manual which is already getting significant traction: 📗 Distributed Collaboration Manual

So yes, we are confident we can make it happen very quickly with some funds to pay people. And we have a huge network of competent professionals who already have experience working the edgeryders way and could quickly spring into action.

We could even just do it directly through in kind contributions from edgeryders community members. But if we want to get this done very fast, It neither realistic nor fair to expect people to put in the significant work without pay, especially right now with the crisis wreaking havoc in the economy and people’s livelihoods. So we need to quickly raise money to pay a fairly large team for a three week sprint of full time work at industry rates ( we have made a rough estimate of 20,000 Eur based on previous experiences.

By contributing to this crowdfunding campaign you make it possible for you, and many others to have effective and enjoyable distributed interactions, teams and projects combining the best of many, many worlds…

No more of this:

  • Frustrating calls where half the time is spent on “hello can you hear me?”
  • Coworkers located elsewhere than the main office feeling left out
  • Feeling you just wasted an hour in a meeting where half the people are tuned out, checking out their email etc
  • Putting a lot of money and energy on new fancy tools to solve a problem, and later discovering that all you really needed was some features you didn’t know about in the tools you already had!!
  • Assuming that your co-workers are aware of what you wrote … but you didn’t know, as it was never clear who would get what notification when.
  • The awkwardness of people behaving inappropriately and causing everyone else discomfort.

We have made all the mistakes and found good solutions so you don’t have to.

Edgeryders is a community of over 5000 people in more than 80 countries who work and collaborate across different projects and organisations online. The not-for-profit social enterprise with the same name develops the practices and tools to support the community members’ work.

In Edgeryders, working remotely is the default…not the exception. It’s how we were born - Some of the founders had only ever met in person once before setting up a company together!

7 years later we have built significant experience working with diverse and distributed teams. Over time we have collected stories, examples, tips and tricks from our large community, clients and distributed collaboration experts. Whenever time and resources allow for it, we structure and share what we learn with anyone who needs it. Like in our :green_book: Distributed Collaboration Manual

Due to the current crisis, we are getting many requests to help people set up or improve their remote collaboration practices. So we are doing a sprint to quickly set up and share a Massive Open Online Course on distributed collaboration.

What is in the Online Course for which we are fundraising?

The lessons and the learning materials will provide a mix of concrete examples, recommendations and general guidelines for changing work culture. These tips and tricks will make your distributed projects run smoother immediately. The general, tool independent, guidance will enable long term enjoyable and effective collaboration. It will help you to update your own work culture, systems and conventions for communication, collaboration and socializing.

The course will give you:

  • Guidelines and introductions for different collaboration models , from fully remote asynchronous work over online facilitated war room hangouts to prolonged co-location or co-living situations with your colleagues. Those will help you to become aware of possibilities and decide which collaboration form to choose for which project.
  • Best practices for different communication channels. With examples reaching from digital preparation and commitment culture to simple hand signs. We will also help you to understand for example the role of cats and other positive noise to amplify social signals in digital communication.
  • Tips and tricks for online facilitation , like how to use the chat during online call meetings to will help you to activate and engage groups of different sizes and goals.
    Guidelines for how to organise, prepare and run online events that are internet native and make the most of what online has to offer for a great experience, rather than try to imitate offline events.
  • Guidelines on How to develop your remote onboarding process for the best possible start.
  • Deep insights on the challenges and strengths of digital distributed collaboration.

Step by step you will be able to take the wellbeing of yourself, your team and your project into your own hands, no matter where those hands might be localised.

Our collaborations, relationships and world are not fixed by turning back time or by downloading the next smart tool. This course supports you in the conscious effort to get socialised in the new distributed digital collaboration rooms open to us.

What We Need & What You Get

Right now we have a HUGE collection of in-depth knowledge based on 7 years of documenting our processes and learning. It is a unique repository of content that has been tested and improved over the years by many different individuals and teams.

We need to raise 39,000 Eur to cover the production costs for transforming this material into an excellent course on how to build great remote working experiences:

  1. Develop the curriculum content. We will pay a team of professional course developers to read, structure and produce short and easy to follow learning materials. We need to finance a 2 person team (course developer & copywriter) working for one month to quickly structure and synthesise the key content into 7 chapters - one for each lesson in the course i.e 40 working days in total.
  2. Produce high quality lecture videos for each lesson. We will pay a professional team to do the filming and editing for the videos. So that each lesson is concise, fun and easy to follow. For each lesson, this will require us to finance one day of preparation + one day of two people’s time filming & recording audio + 2 days of editing. Plus the time of the expert featured in the video to prepare the script for their presentation in the video and participate in the day of the filming. 7 days x 7 videos = 49 days of work.
  3. Community building and management. A good online learning experience is more than a set of videos and follow up tasks. It requires access to an active, supportive community of people who are following the course together. To discuss the contents, give one another feedback on assignments. Building and sustaining a thriving online community requires significant effort - we know, we have been doing it for 7 years! Resource requirement: Budget for one community builder & manager during the course: (we estimate it will require 14 days of community management work per iteration of the course).

What you will get if you contribute to the campaign:

{ Wash Your Hands } - Pledge €5 or more - Our Gratitude. Thank you for coming on board and showing us your support.And for showing solidarity with many people who’s safety and livelihoods depend on their being able to work from home.

{ Boost your immune system } - Pledge €15 or more. You can watch the live streaming of our introductory lesson in real time - and ask the speakers questions via the live webchat. We’ll send you a special live streaming url and you’ll be able to participate in the class from the comfort of your home!

{ Illustrated Guide to virtual meetings } - Pledge € 20 or more - You have a call coming up. And need a fast, nice way to get people to avoid the most common mistakes and adopt best practices. This illustrated 1 page document will save you a lot of explaining time.

{ Access to the Mooc } - Pledge € 30 or more- You get an access code to online course once it is done.

{ Small Lab Test } - Pledge €35 or more - You (anonymously) answer a few questions on an online form. Based on the results we send you a set of personalised recommendations for practices that we have found to work well.

{ Access to Webinar: How to move your events online } - Pledge € 50 or more - A lot of professional events are getting cancelled at the moment. In our experience online events are in many ways superior to their physical counterparts if done well. But, it requires you to rethink everything you think you know about what events are and how they work. This Webinar introduced you to the basics.

{ Small Lab Test + MOOC } - Pledge € 65 or more - Completing the self-evaluation before taking the MOOC will help you identify which parts of the course are especially relevant to your situation. So you can better make use of the course materials.

{ Therapy } - Pledge € 85 - You get access to weekly moderated group calls for 2 months in which our experts and community of remote-workers share problems and solutions. Each call is prepared and facilitated by our wonderful community managers. These calls are also a great opportunity to grow your professional network since you will meet people from many fields and locations.

{ Medium Lab-Test + Mooc } - Pledge 150 € or more - You and up to 5 of your team members (anonymously) answer a few questions as individuals or teams on an online form. Based on the results we send you a set of recommendations for practices that we have found to work well. You also get access to the MOOC.

{ Drop-in Consultation } - Pledge 245 € or more - We will sit down with you for an in- depth conversation to make sense of how distributed collaboration could be introduced in your own organisation or context. Then make recommendations for what could make an improved remote collaboration experience in your case.

{ Prescription } - Pledge 600 - You get access to a monthly live webinar series with our expert for 6 months. Each webinars will zoom in on a key area of expertise you need to develop in order to master the art of remote and distributed collaboration. They include online facilitation, community building, community management, digital placemaking, effective documentation, Intercultural communication.

{ Deep Clean your House } - Pledge 1000 € or more - Every organisation is different and has different remote collaboration needs, established routines, technology preferences etc. We will run one online workshop for your team to co-create a remote collaboration environment and processes that works for your organisation.

The Impact

If the Distributed Collaboration Online Course is successful, its impact would show in directly minimising frustration and time wasted on ineffective remote collaboration… while directly helping to fight climate change by travelling less. By contributing to this crowdfunding campaign you do two things:

  1. Make the course possible - Edgeryders is a tiny social enterprise. We need your support to help cover the costs of producing high quality videos and visual learning materials that are easy to understand, use and share. EIT-Climate Kic has supported us with partial funding, now we need to raise the rest. If we do manage to meet the crowdfunding goal, then we can get quickly get the course online and turn our attention to making more support available for everyone who’s work is affected by the ongoing pandemic by translating the materials into different languages, running online community events for Peer to peer mutual support etc.
  2. Show us, and the world, that you support this effort - The possibility to work remotely has offers us all more freedom in shaping our working lives. If we can demonstrate the effectiveness of good remote collaboration practices, and promote widespread adoption during this crisis, we may be able to permanently shift working culture in a direction that is better for our own wellbeing, and that of the planet. Please do not pass on this opportunity. We may never get another.

Risks & Challenges

Taking on an endeavor like this during a time of instability has risks and obstacles. Things might take longer than expected because people get sick. We may find that even when individuals master the skills, the organisations for which they work, or their clients - may not be as excited about the idea of remote work.

  • We have a history of successfully navigating chaos: Edgeryders has accumulated experience of works in situations where chaos is the norm, not the exception. E.g during the 2015 Earthquake in Nepal.
  • The risk is limited as we are not starting from scratch: We are building the course based on our distributed collaboration manual which is already getting significant traction. (We built is last year with support from Europe"s largest public private partnership for financing climate innovation).
  • The MOOC lessons are published sequentially, but all the lessons are being produced in parallel by distributed teams that are coordinated centrally. Each team works on one lesson, and each lesson is self-standing. So if there is a delay in producing one, we can quickly adapt the material and publish another in its place.
  • The contributors to the fundraising campaign have access to an active online forum populated by a active online community of friendly people who are already knowledgeable about remote and distributed work. The culture is one of solid commitment to sharing and mutual support. The contents of lesson are simply structured knowledge that is already available in the community, so you can get access to it by asking questions the right way - and the community managers will help engage others towards sharing what they know to answer your question.
  • We have prepared for a worst case scenario: As soon as the first fundraising milestone is financed, we will use that money to produce short, easy to follow instructables for all 8 lessons. Each instructable allows you to just follow a short number of steps and give others in your team or organisation the information they need to quickly do the same.

How to make a financial contribution to crowdfunding this MOOC

We have an indiegogo campaign coming up in the next couple of days.Sign up on the mailing list to let us know you want to be notified when we launch it:

http://eepurl.com/gWl0pD

Other Ways You Can Help

  • Help us to get the word out and make some noise about this campaign! Social media, reddit posts, emails to friends and family etc anything you can do is super helpful and much appreciated! We have visual material you can use here.
  • Get your network or organisation to partner with us and amplify this campaign! Perhaps you work with or for an organisation that has a large mailing list, or social media presence? You can help by engaging the communications team at your organisation to help us spread the word!
  • Help us find an organisation (s) that can finance the online course! The sooner we meet our fundraising goal, the sooner we can turn our attention to get many people and organisations to discover and master the art of distributed collaboration. This means: translation of the material and course into other languages than English, make different format versions of the learning materials e.g audio books etc. NB: We do not promote any specific tools or companies to ensure the quality and credibility of this course - but we are happy to provide customised programs for organisations that make significant contributions to this campaign, help train key staff etc.
  • Help us fund free access to this course for people who cannot otherwise afford it! We would love to be able to offer this course freely to everyone - and with a grant to cover the costs we could easily do it.
  • Host an online conversation about how your community is coping with #coronavirus, social distancing, trust issues and what creates wellbeing in these times. For you to host this, we offer our dedicated Wellbeing forum and thr Edgeryders subscription to an online meeting service which you can use. Our team will help you set it up, get in touch at contact@edgeryders.eu
  • Got other ideas for how you could help? Go ahead - if you need input from the team the best and fastest way to reach us is to create an account on edgeryders.eu and leave a comment in response to this post!

By contributing to this crowdfunding campaign you make it possible for you, and many others to have effective and enjoyable distributed interactions, teams and projects combining the best of many, many worlds.

We hope you will support us in this endeavor and look forward to meeting and working together with you soon!

7 Likes

@alberto - when you have a minute can you post a list of people who pledged 5 Eur to the crowdfunding campaign for scifiecon below?

Not GDPR compliant, so no. But I can give you access to the Indiegogo account.

@matthias can you add some stuff/examples of common frustrating experiences that the manual is intended to help people avoid/get away from?

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Hi @owen

We are going to need your help to quickly set this up and produce materials for it, the same way we did for the Scifi Economics crowdfunding campaign.

Can you set up help with quickly setting up the following?

  1. A pre-sales minisite for this? Basically a landing page where we have one paragraph and form where people submit their email addresses to be informed when the campaign launches. Needs to include EIT climate Kic and EU Logo like last time.

  2. Make some flyers asking people contribute to it? Also needs to include EIT Climate Kic and EU logo/

  3. Make images 660x440 pixel images to put on top of each reward description from the crowdfunding text above (see all the others here)

Also @MariaEuler could you help add the texts for the last two or three rewards in there? Brain is fried and cannot find notes from our session. Ignore the actual numbers - I have to calculate everything and will edit them after.

will give it a go.

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do you mean theses with the last two or three rewards or do you mean adding more?

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I mean adding more

Ok, understood.

harru sett @hugi

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@nadia, I added to the pledges as requested and put some of the names we came up with during the workshop in, however, my first impulse would be to reduce the pledge level number. I looked a bit around if there is research to back up this feeling and apparently the consensus is that composing theses campaigns is more of an art than a science. However, I fear that most people won’t read more than 5 pledge levels, and therefore we should put the 5 things we think would add the most value to the people as well as to our project in a position to be taken in easily like this. I think:

  1. the lowest one to just contribute to making it happen “wash your hands” is important, then
  2. the Access to the MOOC once it is done,
  3. the “Lab-test” (personalised recommendation) for individuals,
  4. the “Drop-in” (1-1 talk) and then
  5. maybe “Therapy”, meaning access to a weekly open and anonymous group consultation call or a webinar series.

If you disagree fair enough, but I think having a few well defined and easy to read steps will make the campaign easier to communicate, which would increase its effectiveness as an additional "undercover B2B campaign and in B2c as well. It will make it easier and faster to set it up.

I would cut the physical booklet. Properly creating that is a lot of work that we would be doing on top of many other things without being absolutely necessary to realise the project.

The main goal is to finance the MOOC so it can help as many people as possible to get better at Distributed collab and to get in contact with a few larger organisations to bigger consultancy projects with them. The Booklet would be and add on to that as I see it right now and in part, it even would go against some of the recommendations we might write into it due to its analogue nature. (for example, it can not be regularly updated).

and of course on the end the “house visit” for B2B contacts

What do you think?

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works for me. With that I think we are good! Tomorrow - visuals!

@nadia no prob, I’ll get starting on it now.

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Great! Good job!!

Do you have a nice photo from some activity you did with/for edgeryders? Can be a workshop/video chat/ hackathon etc?

Same for @matthias @noemi @johncoate @alberto ?

For some kind of team list? Then this from Tbilisi:

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Of me or of the activity?

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the group doing something, we need to show there are people who are different and doing different things to show that this is relevant to anyone and everyone.